Arkansas has few legal limitations on adoptive parents. Parents can be male or female, single of married, older or younger. Still, many people wonder whether same sex couples can adopt in Arkansas. In fact, Arkansas state law prohibits discrimination in adoption based on sexual orientation or gender identity of potential adoptive parents.


In 1999, Arkansas passed a law forbidding adoption by gay parents. This law was struck down in 2006. In 2008, a law was passed forbidding adoption by unmarried couples in Arkansas. Observers believed that this law was primarily intended to prevent adoption by LGTB individuals, since same-sex couples could not legally marry in Arkansas at that time. This law was struck down by the Arkansas Supreme Court in 2011.

In 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court determined that same-sex marriages are legal in the United States and must be recognized in every state. Married couples, including same-sex couples, all have the same rights now.

With these two legal changes, obstacles to same-sex adoption were removed.

Agencies have different rules

Some adoption agencies have chosen to work only with married couples, or to decide on a case-by-case basis whether to provide services to specific couples. The Supreme Court decided that faith-based adoption organizations may choose not to work with same-sex couples, so this is a legal option for agencies.

Heimer Law works with a variety of adoption agencies. Each one may have a different set of rules and standards.

How can same-sex couples adopt?

The process of adoption is the same for same sex couples in Arkansas as for other couples. The adoption may be an agency adoption or a private adoption. Stepparent adoptions are also a common choice for same-sex couples.

To adopt, a couple must identify a child or expectant parent to work with, choose the type of adoption (open or closed), file a petition for adoption, have a home study, and complete the legal adoption process. Heimer Law can assist with all these steps.

More information about the process of adoption:

Same-sex adoption follows the same process as adoption by opposite-sex couples. Married same-sex couples enjoy the same adoption rights as any married couple in Arkansas. Single LGBTQ+ individuals can also petition to adopt in Arkansas.